Some aspects of the on-board application of expert systems in artificial satellites are discussed. The activities of the study, which include the implementation of two prototypes on a dedicated artificial intelligence machine, are described. The general implications of the experience are then discussed. These concern the interrelationship between the expert system and the architecture of the satellite and the expert system's impact on the mission definition phase of the satellite lifecycle. The main obstacles that need to be overcome before operational use of onboard expert systems can take place are discussed.